Voters on Tuesday sent controversial incumbents back to office in Provo and Sandy, approved a recreational, arts and parks tax in Orem and opted to allow big box zoning on the site of a former gravel pit. Provo residents also voted for a $6 million road bond.
Lewis Billings handily defeated Dave Bailey in Provo, while Tom Dolan survived a horse-race style win in Sandy over challenger Gary Forbush.
To the north in Davis County, voters opted for change, tossing mayoral incumbents in several cities.
The elections brought surprises, where in Utah County's Cedar Fort, voters filled the mayor's seat with a man who wasn't even on the ballot. Former mayor Howard Anderson outpolled incumbent Jeanine Cook by 22 votes in the unofficial count to take back the seat he lost to her in 1997.
Anderson, who said he was out of town when the filing deadline passed, gave the go-ahead for a write-in campaign after being approached by a number of residents in the small town that sits just west of Utah Lake.
Despite losing the job she has held for the past eight years, Cook was in good spirits, saying, "Change is always good; you have new energy and new ideas."
Good feelings weren't in play in Mapleton, however. Mayoral hopeful Stan Sorenson was not happy about a polling location mix-up that may have kept some of his supporters away from the polls.
Eight out of the 10 mayors up for re-election in Salt Lake County will now face another term as residents voted for the status quo in cities including West Valley City, Sandy, Draper and Murray. Mayor Wayne Mortimer of Bluffdale, however, lost his seat to challenger Claudia Anderson and South Salt Lake Mayor Wes Losser was defeated by Bob Gray.
In Davis County, however, four — maybe five — of the mayors seeking another term were defeated, bringing new mayors to Sunset, Clearfield, Farmington and West Bountiful. Kaysville Mayor Bryan Cook was trailing opponent Neka Roundy as of press time. Seven of the 15 cities in Davis County will have new mayors next year, including the three cities where mayors did not seek re-election — Layton, Centerville and Fruit Heights.
Sandy's Dolan narrowly held on to his seat for a fourth term, defeating Forbush by roughly 1,100 votes. Dolan's 53 percent win was the closest margin he has faced in any election.
"I've been saying all along a win is a win. If you don't win, no one will remember but the candidates themselves, so I'm just pleased with any victory" said Dolan, who flip-flopped the lead with Forbush many times Tuesday evening as election results streamed in.
For Dolan, this year's election was as much about gravel pits as it was politics as voters also cast their ballots to decide the fate of a 107-acre parcel near 9400 South and 1000 East. Forbush led the effort to get a referendum to allow residents to vote for or against a City Council zoning change paving the way for a big-box development by the Boyer Co.
Voters opted by a 9 percent margin to keep the zone change, ending a yearlong struggle by Forbush and Save Our Communities against developing the gravel pit.
"I think the gravel pit had a lot to say about how people were voting," Dolan said.
Tooele voters also rejected a fluoride proposal Tuesday, voting against adding fluoride to their drinking water with a 66 percent vote. This is the second time in six years Tooele voters have faced the ballot question calling for a boost of naturally occurring fluoride levels from 0.2 parts per million to 1 part per million.
In other races Tuesday:
Draper Mayor Darrell Smith defeated Summer Pugh with 76 percent of the vote.
Steve Curtis beat Layton mayoral candidate Steve Handy by a 4 percent margin.
Farmington Mayor Dave Connors lost his seat to Scott C. Harbertson by 232 votes.
In Salt Lake City, voters picked Soren Simonsen to replace Dale Lambert, while Eric Jergensen and Carlton Christensen retained their district seats.
Mayor Dan Snarr of Murray will also remain in his posts after defeating challenger David Wilde. Snarr, who garnered 4,386 votes to contender David Wilde's 3,374, will now serve a third term in office.
Some things will be changing in Salt Lake County, however, most notably in Bluffdale where the incumbent mayor was ousted by voters after disputes over a proposed development. City Council member Claudia Anderson, a leader in the effort against the high-density development, defeated Mortimer in a 54 to 46 percent vote.
A new mayor will also take over in West Jordan where voters chose David Newton.
Tooele voters will also see a fresh face at the helm next year after electing City Recorder Patrick Dunlavy to replace Mayor Charlie Roberts, who will be joining the state Tax Commission. Dunlavy has been a city employee for 38 years, a key point in his campaign to beat City Councilman Steven Bevan in the mayoral race.
Voter turnout throughout the county varied from cities dipping as low as 5 percent in the uncontested mayoral race in Midvale to a high of 46 percent in Bluffdale. Overall, Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said the 20 percent average turnout was decent.